Dubai Health Authority
Country: United Arab Emirates
The Dubai Shield Program
While much of the world was still oblivious about COVID-19, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) was already laying the groundwork for an aggressive system to fight the virus. As early as January 2020, the DHA had formulated its pioneering Dubai Shield Program, a series of four interrelated projects designed to combat the pandemic.
The first project involved increasing Dubai’s COVID testing capacity, while the second focused on boosting the availability of isolation and quarantine facilities. The third project was centered on improving the treatment and hospitalization of COVID-19 patients. Lastly, the fourth initiative involved creating a city-wide network for real-time communicable disease surveillance.
Under the program, the DHA successfully increased the city’s testing capacity to 87,000 tests per day. All PCR tests were processed through a unified laboratory information system, allowing the DHA to maintain a 24-hour turnaround time for test results. The DHA also collaborated with the private sector to increase the number of available isolation beds. It used prefabricated materials to rapidly construct new facilities, and also converted over 50 hotels and non-medical buildings into quarantine facilities.
The success of the program helped the United Arab Emirates (UAE) achieve a COVID-19 mortality rate of 0.5%, compared to the world average of 3-4%. Dubai’s efforts also played a crucial role making the UAE the 6th top country worldwide in terms of the number of tests conducted per capita.